When you’re a student, whether you like it or not, you soon realise that your time is never your own. I mean, sure, you have “free time”, but always in the back of your mind looms the thought of dun, dun dun... upcoming assignments and exams. The truth of the matter is that if you want to succeed (at anything) you need to accept that you need to use a large portion of your “free time” to…*cue Rhianna*
WAIT! Don’t stop reading yet! We know you’ve probably heard this a million times, BUT you have got to DO THIS. Find a type of schedule that works for you and stick to it.
Some people find it best to set aside a chunk of time at the start or end of their day to dedicate to study (typically 3-5 hours). Others, find it best to break it up. Be warned! "Breaking it up" doesn’t mean taking half hour breaks for every 15 mins of study. Instead, try scheduling your study in 1-2 hour blocks around other tasks you need to accomplish. So, if you have class on Tuesday, try waking up an hour earlier than usual to study before class, then study again during your lunch break and after class for another hour or two. You’ll find that by setting aside even just an hour a day you’ll probably end up studying a bit longer once you get into the groove of it.
Another scheduling tip is to write stuff down! Make a schedule for the week that includes anything mandatory. This can include, class, work family, dinner with friends, workout time and even that new TV show you’re obsessed with. (Try to be mindful when you do this. You might have to give up a few “mandatory” items in order to make room for study time.) Next, designate study times between your mandatory tasks. These windows will add up to a lot over the course of a week and you’ll find you won’t go crazy because you’ve still been able to fit in a bit of "you time".
No desk, no worries, right? WRONG! If you live with other people, working at the dining room table while others are watching TV, playing music or doing other distracting things around you is not an option. If you do this, more often than not you’ll find yourself spending most of your study time distracted and unproductive. If you don’t have a quiet spot to study at home try finding a café with free wifi, a spot at your local library, a training room on campus or even your desk at work (if it’s ok with your boss to do so outside of work hours). Find a place where you feel the most studious and make it your place to study.
Most of us do better when we hold ourselves accountable to someone else. If you’ve just started a new course and want to accomplish an assessment by a certain date, let your trainer know! Hold yourself accountable to them and ask them for extra help you keep you going. If you get into the habit of just telling yourself you’re going to study, you’ll find that you’ll procrastinate until the last possible second and not do as well as you could have.
Getting into a good study schedule is no easy feat, but it is possible! You've just got to want the end destination (knowledge, skills and qualifications) a whole lot more than that extra episode of Game of Thrones, catching the latest Pokemon or whatever it is you’re into. In the words of one of the most successful shoe brands to grace the earth, “Just do it”, you’ll thank yourself later.
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